A CRICKETING stalwart, who coached thousands of youngsters, has died at the age of 72.

A pillar of the game in the county, Terry Birt spent 60 years playing, coaching and organising cricket for generations of youngsters.

Due to his hard work for his much loved county team, Worcestershire Nomads, its colts section grew to 11 teams and won many county and national trophies.

After the announcement of his death on February 28, the club he had dedicated his life to supporting made a statement that said they had lost "a true friend".

"A man that influenced the lives of so many both within cricket and across the wider community," the club said.

"During an extremely sad time we can draw strength over the affection shown towards this great man.

"He would be truly humbled. RIP Terry, one of the best."

Former Worcestershire paceman Stuart Lampitt said: "You are yet another great loss to cricket in Worcestershire, what a star you were.

"I know you will shine brightly every night and keep a watchful eye over us all as we continue to deliver your legacy. A legacy by the way that was, still is and will always be experienced and enjoyed by thousands of young people each year.

"To say you were a legend is an understatement, you were a forefather, a sage, an inspiration to all, especially to the young players that you have helped and nurtured both at Christopher Whitehead School and of course at your beloved Worcester Nomads Cricket Club.

"All in all there are thousands upon thousands of individuals who owe you a huge debt of gratitude for your selfless and tireless contribution to cricket within the local and wider communities.

"Rest in peace Terry, thank you for your inspiring life."

Mr Birt, who lived in Martley, once coached the county juniors, ran a county competition, acted as secretary and treasurer for South Worcester Youth group and arranged fixtures for Worcestershire women and girls all at the same time.

His contribution didn't go unrecognised winning the Halesowen Trophy for junior coaching by the Midlands Club Cricket Conference, and the Jim Marsh National Coach of the Year Award.

And two years ago Mr Birt was presented with the prestigious Bill Jones Memorial Volunteer of the Year Award at the 2017 NatWest Outstanding Service to Cricket Awards. As a result of that award Mr Birt went on to be runner up in a national award, the Natwest lifetime achiever, visiting Lords for the ceremony.

Mr Birt was born in Stroud and was originally involved in Gloucestershire cricket, before moving to Worcestershire for his work as a bank manager for TSB. He would go on to work at Christopher Whitehead School helping budding cricketers there, before his retirement.

Close friend Margaret Butterworth, who lived with him before his death, told the Worcester News he was always enthusiastic about helping youngsters.

"The thing that stands out more than anything about his life was his kindness.

"He will be fondly remembered."

Tributes flooded in for Mr Birt after Nomad's announced the news on Twitter.

Jonathan Inglis wrote: "It was a pleasure to have been coached and to have played alongside Terry.

"What he did for Nomads was incredible, it was an honour to have known such a kind and warm hearted gentleman."

Paul Gardner said: "An absolute gentleman and one of the nicest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting."

Anna Regan said: "Lived and breathed cricket, was always so positive and passionate about our great game. Will miss you Terry."

John Davis added: "100 per cent gentleman, 100 per cent cricket man. It was an absolute pleasure to have known him."

Mr Birt's funeral is being held at Worcester Crematorium on March 29 from 1pm, and following the service people are invited to remember his life at a gathering at Worcestershire County Cricket's New Road ground.

Mr Birt is survived by his two sons, Laurie and Robbie.

READ MORE: Worcester Nomads' Terry Birt wins volunteer of the year award among county cricket victors